Do you fundraise? If so, do you understand enough about the Fundraising Code of Practice that you should be following?

Do you and your group fundraise? Do you run fundraising events or ask for donations? In which case, no matter whether you are large or small, or whether the amounts raised are trivial, you still need to ensure you’re fully complying with the Fundraising Code of Practice. Are you?

All charitable fundraising activities are covered by this Code and the Fundraising Regulator oversees its implementation. Your chair and your board or committee need to ensure you and the organisation understand the Code and your obligations and are putting them into practice. Falling foul of the regulations would be unfortunate, so make sure you’re up to date.

Have you paid your £50 fee and registered with the Regulator? If you’re raising less than £100k each year then registration is optional, but, and this needs to be stressed – compliance with the Fundraising Code is not optional. Breaches of the Code are of course frowned on and are pursued by the Regulator for charities both large and small.

Do you have a complaints procedure? Not having one is itself a breach of the Fundraising Code. Do you know when and how to check with the Fundraising Preference Service (FPS)? Don’t assume its not relevant to you – any member of the public can make a request through the FPS to ANY registered charity to either have their details removed from the charity’s database OR ensure that they will never be contacted at any time in the future. Are you ready for this?

Basic principles

In simplest terms “good fundraising should always be legal, open, honest, respectful and accountable”.

In practice this means:

Being clear and truthful
Honouring your promises to supporters
Treating the public fairly and with respect
Handling donations safely and securely
Taking responsibility for your fundraising

Should be simple? But can you ensure this is what you, your organisation, your staff and volunteers are all doing?

Even if you’ve answered ‘yes’ to some of my earlier questions, here’s 10 questions every Trustee of a charity should be able to answer:

1 What are your responsibilities when it comes to fundraising?

2 Are you happy that your charity is compliant with all fundraising standards and legislation?

3 Do you monitor how many fundraising complaints have been received?

4 Is your charity transparent and accountable in its approach to fundraising?

5 How is your charity’s fundraising approach sustainable?

6 What is your charity’s fundraising strategy?

7 Do you have robust processes in place to ensure you have appropriate fundraising policies, systems, culture and control mechanisms?

8 Which fundraising methods do you use?

9 Who delivers your fundraising: staff, volunteers, third parties? Are you confident that they are doing so legally, and to the highest standards?

10 Are you confident your fundraising expenditure is being used as effectively as possible to achieve short and long term objectives?

Can you all answer these questions?

Take the time now to ensure that everything you are doing related to fundraising is meeting the correct quality and standard. Better to check yourself than to be fending off an irate member of the public?

There’s plenty of resources available and I’ve highlighted many of these below. Take the time to share and read them and act upon them.

As a member organisation, if you’d like to talk this through with someone please feel free to contact Karl Elliott at VANEL for a chat.


The Fundraising Regulator

The Fundraising Code of Practice – online version

Or download a .pdf here.

The Regulator is currently involved in a consultation exercise on changes to the Code (responses during Feb/March 2018). Read all about or get involved here.

Organisations signing up to the Code should be able to clearly adhere to this Promise – why not make sure all your board, staff and volunteers have this to hand?

The Institute of Fundraising has lots of news and resources. For example, here’s their overview of the rules of fundraising.

Read advice from the Charity Commission here.

The Fundraising Preference Service (FPS) is here.

And a useful FAQ about this is here.

And finally, download, share and read this – “Trustees and Fundraising: A Practical Handbook”. It’s a free guide that you and your board should all be up to date on.